Ah, webcomics. It’s been a while since I last wrote about them but, since I was making one at the time of writing (The whole thing can be read here, if you’re interested ), I thought that I’d talk about them again.
If you want to see something from the webcomic I mentioned right now, here’s one of the updates that I made shortly before writing this article:
Since I’ve used the characters in this comic series in both 3-5 panel stand-alone webcomic updates and in more traditional story-based comics, I’ve gained a greater understanding of the differences between these two formats.
So, whilst stand-alone webcomics do have their disadvantages (eg: they’re harder to write, there’s less room for characterisation and storytelling etc..), I thought that I’d list a few of the advantages of making a webcomic where each update can stand on it’s own two feet.
1) They’re easy to get into: Whether you’re making them or just reading them, stand-alone webcomics are a lot more easily accessible than story-based webcomics are.
Since the emphasis is on telling a self-contained joke, these comics can be enjoyed without reading every previous update. They instantly grab the attention of new readers in a way that longer story-based comics can’t really do.
Not only that, this also helps to take the pressure off of you slightly. If your webcomic goes on hiatus for a while or if you get writer’s block, then it’s very easy to just start a new comic update rather than having to work out how to continue an unfinished story.
Even though I only work on my “Damania” webcomic occasionally these days, the fact that each update is a self-contained comic means that I don’t have to worry about confusing my readers when I re-start the comic and I also don’t have to worry about trying to remember plot details from a longer story.
2) They’re character-focused comics: One cool thing about stand-alone webcomics is that the emphasis is squarely on the characters, rather than on a long-running story. Although characters in stand-alone webcomics have to be designed carefully (eg: they need to be recognisable at a glance and their personalities must come across to the reader quickly), they’re fairly important in stand-alone comics.
Why? Well, because you only have a few panels to work with in each comic, the characters have to be part of the humour. In other words, if you want to show off a bunch of interesting characters that you’ve designed, then a stand-alone webcomic is the best way to do it.
Because stand-alone webcomics rely a lot on character interaction and character reactions, I’d argue that the characters are at least slightly more important than they are in a story-based webcomic.
3) You can include more subjects: Although coming up with self-contained jokes for each webcomic update can be quite a challenge, one advantage of making stand-alone webcomic updates is that you have a much wider range of inspirational material at your disposal.
If you’re making a story-based webcomic then every update has to be relevant to the main story in some way or another. If you’re making stand-alone webcomic updates, then each comic can pretty much be about anything (within reason).
In other words, you can show your characters playing videogames, you can show them doing random things, you can show them commenting on current events, you can show them eating unusual food etc… The only limit is your imagination.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂